Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

Archive for the ‘EMDs’ Category

I had the privilege of presenting to the fine folks of the FBTA last week. This is not my first time with the group, and knowing they can be a little feisty at times, I came prepared to bare all. There is no holding back with this group. They remind me a lot of the group from LABTA.

My presentation was all about airline ancillary services and the impact these might have on corporate travel managers and their travelers. Whether it’s a new bundled airline product freshly negotiated by savvy travel managers or a set of company-authorized a-la-carte optional services based on trip type or duration, a whole new world has opened up for today’s corporate travel managers… if they want it that is. I bet most will, but I suspect some will run for the hills because navigating in this new world where the corporate travel managers are negotiating the travel experience is new territory. The days of simply negotiating a discount in return for volume are long gone.  And simply getting your travelers an entry-level frequent flyer status just won’t cut it.

As is typical with this group, presenters only get through their first three slides before the “Hands of Challenge” arise. No different this day, but I expected and prepared for it. In reality, this is really what I love about this group—dialogue! Ok, maybe more like pointed questions, but I love it anyway. At first they seemed very school-like by raising their hands and politely waiting their turn to ask, but that only lasted a few minutes. We talked about how airlines are working hard to create an “experience” for their travelers rather than just a trip, and how travel managers now have the ability to influence their travelers experience by engaging airlines to customize product bundles based on type of travel—say a training venue versus a sales trip halfway around the world for the top salespeople in the organization.  Read the rest of this entry »

We all know that direct connects have many benefits: reduced distribution costs, pricing transparency, a more personalized shopping experience. But again, you already know all about those, so I want to talk to you today about a benefit many seem to be overlooking: EMD & Reporting.

Lately, I’ve been hearing an awful lot about the need for an accessible standard metric when it comes to the purchasing of ancillary services. It’s a corporate travel manager’s headache… having access to detailed purchase data. For years the travel industry has looked for the credit card industry to solve the problem. Stop looking, I say… if it hasn’t happened by now, it’s probably not going to happen.

So back to the corporate travel manager. How does she know if Business Traveler Smith is charging a checked bag or an in-flight cocktail? Wi-Fi to do work or another bottle of Pinot? Business Traveler Smith has a bit of a reputation for over-serving himself at the Christmas party. How does the travel manager know that he’s not doing the same thing on the company dime every time he gets sent to Detroit? Okay, a bit of tongue and check here but in real corporate traveler manager life, corporations want the best ROI on their travel spending and that includes wanting to pay for necessities and agreed traveler convenience items and not, in this case, Business Traveler Smith’s love of white wine. Airline ancillaries are quickly becoming a way of life in corporate travel management, which is all well and good, but it’s no help if the corporations can’t track them. Read the rest of this entry »